[EWCP] 10-30-11 Cast - Scouting

The East West Collaboration Project invites you to join us for the next installment of our ongoing cast series. This week, we will have Jim Zondag and Isaac Rife from FRC33 the Killer Bees, on the cast to discuss scouting at FRC competitions. If Justin Foss can make the cast, it will also include an in depth discussion of the scouting system his team, FRC2168 the Aluminum Falcons, developed for the 2011 season, how they used the data, and their scouting system plans for the future.

As always the cast will begin at 5AM Moscow Standard Time (9PM EDT.) Talkshoe opens up 15 minutes early and oftentimes a small informal pre-cast discussion/ Q&A session occurs and most casts are followed by a similar post-cast discussion as well.

The show notes and talkshoe link will be posted shortly. As always, feel free to send any cast suggestions or insults our way. Thanks for listening.

Jim and Isaac are great choices for the cast. I always thought they were one of the best scouting teams in FIRST and I have an even greater appreciation of them after my talks with them at the Championship this year.

What would CD like to know about scouting?

WHat do you include on your scouting sheets?
Do you have your scouters write things down on paper, or put them into a digital database?
Do you solely use info from the competition at hand, or from past regionals, competitions, etc.
How many people on average scout per team?
Do your scouters go through training?
If so, how?

Some questions I have in particular are:

How do you make sure your new, first-time scouts are prepared at your first competition?

How to keep new, first-time scouters interested in what they are doing, and also to stress how scouting is important?

Practice matches-scout them through the same criteria as regular matches, scout them subjectively, or to even scout them at all?

I really enjoyed that talk and hopefully remember a to bring up a good lesson I was reminded of during the discussion.

Talk about what teams like 33 are usually looking for in a 1st or 2nd pick during alliance selection.

How about:

  • Why does my team need to scout?

-the importance of subjective data (I some cases and years OPR and other numerical data can be misleading)

-How to properly utilize the data you collect.

-How to properly pit scout. (The “How many wheels do you have?” question gets old really fast.)

-How to make a pick list, check it twice, and revise picking order on the fly. (during picking)

-How to decide what factors are important to scout?

Are there going to be any example documents published before or after the cast so listeners have a take home example scouting sheet or something along those lines? (This would be pretty sweet!)

I assume this will be recorded and made available later?

A couple questions I have:
– Who scouts on the team? Is it just the everyone who is not on the drive team, pit crew, or chairman’s/pr?

– How do you handle the Friday night pick list meeting when there are team socials or special concerts? Skip all or part of the activity, have mentors and anyone else who wants to make the list (while students enjoy the activity), or do it after the activity and get to bed past midnight?

– Any tips to make scouting fun or atleast bearable for the students who have little interest in it.


As I mentioned in our last cast, you don’t build a sustainable program by bettering yourself, you build one by helping your community grow. Along these lines we are trying to make as much information available to anyone who wants it. If you have things you want to know or things you want to share let us know and we will work with you.

The big one for me is making scouting exciting/fun for students. We have HUGE problems in that area.

I’m super excited about this, I’m sort of the de-facto mentor/volunteer thing in charge of scouting on my old team, and I’ve been working on how to improve our scouting. So kudos on gaining a listener this week :smiley:

Also, since this will be my first time listening and I don’t see it in this thread, really stupid question where do I go to listen to this?

I will post the link shortly (I don’t think the link goes live until 30 minutes or so before the show). It will also appear on our Facebook page. If 830pm EST sunday rolls around and there is no link posted here someone needs to message me (Skype/GoogleTalk are listed) and remind me that it is Sunday. Last cast I totally forgot it was Sunday.

How to run a scouting meeting.

In addition to the questions mentioned(how to make it engaging, how to run a scouting meeting), I would like to know, what is the most efficient way to get the information to the drive team?

How about how to effectively relay subjective and strategic scouting info to drivers for use in matches? Being a coach I know this can be huge.

I’m interested to hear how other teams end up making their pick lists.

How much weight is given to pit scouting information vs. game scouting?
Do top teams scout themselves?
Is pit scouting even really worth doing, or is it used as an exercise for the rookies who have no other tasks? (kinda like the lead screw in the KoP)

Our team representative brings a metal bingo cage out to the field for alliance selection and picks the team whose corresponding ball comes out first.

Actually, we pick teams in order of best performance on Einstein. Don’t you remember 195, then 1124? 177, and 173?

Can you guys let this one run a tad long if necessary, so nothing gets cut short, because this could be the most interesting one yet.